Man Up: The 2012 Man-infesto

Posted on Dec 29, 2011

British journalist and best-selling author Tony Parsons does it again. In the latest UK edition of GQ Magazine, Parsons presents his 2012 Man-ifesto: 53 rules for men to live by in the new year. Here are some of my favorites:

7. When you get back from the gym, you must immediately pack your kitbag for the new time. Because it doesn’t end. It never ends.

8. Don’t expect the state to do a thing for you. Ask what you can do for yourself, not what your country can do for you.

11. Our greatest illusion is that happiness will come if only we can get that woman, that job, that house, that car, that prize. But true happiness always resides in the quest.

12. Weapons. After the riots, you probably thing that you need one. But if you want a weapon, then get one that will not immediately get you sent to jail. Also, get a weapon that will not be easy to take away from you. A weapon is no good if it gets you locked up or if someone takes it from you and sticks it up your back passage. If you keep a weapon in the house, try to choose one that is easy to reach, easy to use and yet difficult to take away from you. Baseballs bats are our comfort blankets in this age of anxiety, but try swinging one on a staircase. The only thing baseball bats are really good for is playing baseball. The rules for weapons are: keep it legal, keep it simple, and keep it by the side of the bed.

13. Pain is just weakness leaving the body.

14. When you feel nostalgic for an old lover, always remember they do not look as hot as that any more.

16. Earn money before you spend it. The countries that invented capitalism forgot that wealth has to be created before it can be distributed.

17. As you get older, you become much fussier about who you sleep with. But this is not necessarily the same as becoming a better person.

19. The worst thing about having children is that you are never truly free again. The best thing about having children is that you will never have a better reason to be alive.

21. Soft drinks should be consumed as sparingly as hard liquor. Soft drinks are one of the main reasons why America got fat. Drink lots of tea, a winning combination of boiled water, sugar and caffeine that built an empire. And when you drink coffee, drink it short and black— espressos or macchiatos. Cappuccinos and lattes are bad. You should never have a gut full of milk unless you are either a baby or a cow.

22. It is good to remember old lovers with affection. But don’t get too sentimental or you will end up dragging the dead carcass of that relationship around the block one more time. Remember her with love in your heart. But also, remember the bad times (see 23).

23. It is always healthy to remember the bad times. When you are in a monogamous relationship, you will long for your promiscuous years. When you are living wild, you will get nostalgic for when there was someone waiting for you at home. But every life has its limitations and its drawbacks. So when you are free, remember how stifled you felt being in a relationship. And when you are settled, remember how unhappy promiscuity made you in the end. Always count your blessings of the here and now. And remember the bad times.

24. “The only thing I ask of my government is to leave me the f*** alone.”

25. You should earn more than your woman. And if you don’t earn more than her at the moment, then try working weekends. Earning more than your woman is not sexist or old-fashioned— it is an act of love.

26. It is much easier to break someone’s jaw if their mouth is open…Your mouth should never be open unless you have something interesting to say.

27. The only success that matters is being able to live the life that you want. This does not mean that there will never be failure, disappointment or more work than you can handle. Living the life you want means you will still be regularly visited by all of these. And yet it will always be worth it.

28. You know that you are truly in love when you are shocked to be waking up without her by your side.

29. Eye contact. Eye contact with everyone. Eye contact and a big smile. These small, good things will transform your world.

30. “Dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.” — Walt Whitman

32. Money buys you the one thing that is really worth buying— time. Poverty makes a prisoner of every man. But if you love money too much, you’re worse than a prisoner. You’re a slave.

34. When his work feels just like his play, a man is king.

35. Don’t worry— you will get a second chance to get everything right. Even if it all goes wrong— the marriage, the career, the life— you get a chance to try again. But you don’t get a third chance. A lifetime is just not long enough for a third chance.

38. Eat what you like when you are at home but be conservative on the road. Long-haul flights and shellfish can be a catastrophic mix.

39. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” — the Smiths

40. Always treat your parents as if they are close friends who are soon to move to a distant land from where it will be impossible ever to return. Never take them for granted, no matter how busy life gets. You can’t imagine your mother and father dying. And then they do.

41. You decide if you are going to succeed or fail. It is a personal decision. Luck does not come into it…Believe in yourself. Be your own greatest ally. There will be enough people in your life who will be only too eager to underestimate you, to denigrate you, to put you down. Never do it to yourself.

42. Your body will tell you when it is time to see a doctor. Only a fool doesn’t listen to his body.

44. A little of what you fancy will always do you good— unless what you fancy is crack.

45. Never get drunk the night before you catch a plane, go to the gym or make love to someone for the first time.

46. Prepare yourself for every task you face. Really prepare— you’re too old to be doing your homework on the bus. When the time comes, be ready. As they say in boxing: train hard, fight easy.

47. If you knew how long you were going to live, you would take better care of yourself.

51. The big lie: everything happens for a reason.

52. The rule about finding the perfect age for your partner is to divide your own age in half and then add seven. This seems to work. Especially if you are a woman.

53. Never skimp on shoes.


— Tony Parsons, January 2012 edition of GQ Magazine, UK edition